"I'm considering donating blood. Are there any restrictions?" The Newton Falls Public Library staff knew that the American Red Cross is the local organization which sponsors blood donation collections, so we accessed their website to see if we could find the information needed by our patron.
At www.redcross.org, we selected Give Blood and then For First Time Donors. There is a great deal of useful information on this web page, including tips for successful donation, what to bring, and what to expect. The basic requirements state that "In most states, donors must be age 17 or older. Some states allow donation by 16-year-olds with a signed parental consent form. Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health." Donors are given a mini physical that includes a check of your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level present in a sample of blood. They will also be asked some questions during a private and confidential interview about health history and places traveled. The site gives some common reasons for not being allowed to donate which include low hemoglobin /hematocrit, and cold, flu or other illness symptoms. Temporary deferrals are given for certain travel locations and some medications. Permanent deferrals may also be given because of travel as well as some medical conditions. The site did not list what these locations or conditions were, so the staff encouraged the patron to contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS.